Often we come across people who doubt the need for deliverance ministries in the Church. They are satisfied with prayer, worship and a Christian way of life which they feel are sufficient to place them on the right track to salvation. They are indeed the cornerstones of a fruitful Christian life, but we should not be blind to something that will impede our journey to spiritual perfection. What obstructs us is nothing but the works of the devil, the master of scheming. And the remedy lies in deliverance. Prayer for deliverance is nothing new. It is there in the Lord’s prayer itself. Though the Lord’s Prayer is an essential part of our prayer menu, we often fail to understand the need of seeking deliverance in its true sense.
The Scripture testifies that one of the major missions given to Jesus from heaven was delivering us from evil. ‘The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners’ (Isa. 61:1). It is no surprise that at the beginning of his public ministry, while he was in the synagogue in Nazareth, Jesus was given the scroll of the prophet Isaiah to read. It is also no surprise that when Jesus unrolled the scroll he found the place where this prophecy was written, because it was exactly the ministry our Heavenly Father wanted His beloved son to accomplish.
Deliverance is one of the major themes of the Bible that we should never miss. Freeing the Israelites from the ‘iron furnace’ called Egypt was a sign of things to come. Real deliverance came through Jesus and Moses was his prototype.
Generally we understand deliverance in a broader sense, that Jesus protects us from the snares and temptations of the devil. For those who do not go beyond it, deliverance is an abstract term synonymous with God’s act of protecting us from evil forces. But today’s world compels us to take the ministry of deliverance more seriously, because the devil lies in wait for us at every turn. We know that the devil is not an abstract concept, but a real person. More importantly, the devil is more active these days than ever, because he is in a hurry for obvious reasons.
There are a number of instances described in the gospels where Jesus healing persons possessed with demons. Demonic possession or demonic infestation is not a myth, but a real phenomenon. Unfortunately, we bypass this important aspect when dealing with our problems. Our eyes should be opened to the fact that the root cause of many of our problems is the direct attack of evil spirits on us. To get rid of them, we have only one weapon and it is deliverance performed by a person anointed for the purpose. If casting out demons finds a place in the final commandment of Jesus to his disciples (cf. Mk 16:17-18) it means that Jesus wanted them to continue this ministry to the ends of the world.
Evangelists have recorded that at the time of selecting the disciples, Jesus intended to give them power over all forces of evil. ‘He appointed twelve, whom he also named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, and to have authority to cast out demons’ (Mk. 3:14-15).
This power handed over to the disciples and transmitted through the Church is still available to us and will be available till the last day. A consecrated priest can bind evil spirits and cast out demons in the name of Jesus Christ, the son of the Living God.
So, next time when you face something that requires deliverance, do approach an anointed priest who can help you. This is not to suggest that deliverance is a panacea for all your problems. It requires discernment and a consecrated priest who is bestowed with the power and anointing and who is actively into the ministry of deliverance can guide you in discerning spirits. Believe it or not, many issues which we think as commonplace arising out of natural causes, are in fact the handiwork of Satan. But we believe that ‘the Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil’ (1 Jn 3:8) and that he will deliver us from evil.
At a time when the devil is attacking the children of God in a scale unparalleled in history, let us make good use of the ministry of deliverance made available to us through the Church. Let us pray: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.